Debunking the Myth Obama Deported More Illegals Than Trump
A myth I debunked last year has been resurrected – that Barack Obama deported more people than Preisdent Donald Trump.
I can’t exactly figure out the motivation behind the lie. Are they trying to shame Trump for not doing as much on immigration as Obama? That would be weird, because whenever there is reporting on Trump’s actions against illegal immigration it’s portrayed in an overwhelmingly negative light. Wouldn’t that make Obama worse than Trump by their own logic?
Questions aside, the argument goes like this, per The Hill:
While the Obama administration deported 1.18 million people in his first three years, the number of deportations has been a little under 800,000 so far under Trump, according to the Post.
The Obama administration also deported 409,849 people in 2012 alone, while the Trump administration has yet to deport more than 260,000 people in a year, the Post reported.
The crux of the issue comes down to how you define a deportation. Under the Obama administration, illegals caught and released at the border were counted as “deportations,” which they weren’t previously. The kind of deportation that’s relevant to this analysis is what’s known as “interior removals,” the deportations of those currently residing in the U.S. illegally, not attempting to enter.
When Obama took office, the ratio of interior to border removals to all others was roughly 2:1, a ratio that flipped 3:1 in the opposite direction by the time he left office. Interior removals tanked from 237,941 the year Obama took office to 65,539 the final year.
In the first half of 2019 there were at least 84,505 interior removals, 12,314 of which were illegals pending criminal charges, and 72,191 of which were convicted criminals. There are 45,012 listed as “other immigration violators,” so it’s currently impossible to know what percent were interior and exterior removals from that group.
Even if we were to accept the revised definition of deportations, including those turned around at the border, Trump’s rhetoric against illegal immigration has caused a deterrent effect, whereas many would-be border crossers aren’t even bothering to make the journey. That effect was most pronounced during Trump’s first year in office.
Actual border crossings (measured by apprehensions) during Trump’s first year were 80% lower than projected.
That initial effect of Trump’s rhetoric was only present in the short term (as evidenced by the surge in migrant crossings in early 2019), but that still amounts to hundreds of thousands fewer “deportations.”
As usual, the media has found yet another way to lie with statistics, and this time they aren’t even being original.